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By Karen Bondowski
Jared Leto - 30 Seconds to Mars
April 10, 2010
Jared Leto is one of the very few artists who have successfully jumped the arts from film to music. Starring in such powerhouse movies as "Fight Club," "Girl, Interrupted," "Panic Room," "American Psycho," "Alexander," "Requiem for a Dream," "Lord of War," and "Chapter 27" to writing and recording very successful albums with 30 Seconds to Mars (2002), A Beautiful Lie (2005) and This Is War (2009), Leto is living the dream. A dream that Kevin Costner (solo), Russell Crowe (30 Odd Foot of Grunts), Kevin Bacon (The Bacon Bothers) and Keanu Reeves (Dogstar) will never know.
Leto and his brother Shannon started 30 Seconds to Mars in 1998. They quickly rose from opening band to the headliners that they are today. Armed with movie star charm and rock star good looks Leto chooses his own path...not really caring if we follow or not. He paints many of his songs in hues that many would find dark and discomforting. A sample of "This Is War" lyrics:
A warning to the prophet, the liar, the honest
This is War
To the leader, the pariah, the victim, the messiah
This is war
Its the moment of truth and the moment to lie
Its the moment to live and the moment to die
The moment to fight, the moment to fight, to fight, to fight, to fight
Livewire's Karen Bondowski got a few minutes to speak with Leto on the the things that go bump in his head.
Livewire: How's Vegas right now?
Jared: Vegas is good. We just got here. So far we've been rehearsing the show. Tonight's the first show of our very first US tour in three years.
Livewire: Have you had a chance to go gambling?
Jared: No, I don't gamble actually. So, I'm not a very big Vegas person. It's a fun place to come to for a second.
Livewire: Well, I know we don't have much time today before the show, but I have to ask you...rumor has it that last time you were in Milwaukee, you painted a mural in the basement of The Rave, is that true?
Jared: Hrm...That may or may not be true depending on if there are any cleanup fees.
Livewire: No, no. There wouldn't be any! (In no way, shape or form does The Rave endorse this statement)
Jared: Yeah, I had a little bit of fun at that show. It was a great night. We really enjoyed it.
Livewire: So what was your motivation for "This is War?" The lyrics are really strong, I have to say.
Jared: Thank you. It was an intense time for us and with this record we had an opportunity to say something new, to really transform and we took advantage of that. It was a fascinating time to make the record. The world was in a really challenging place. And we were as well. We had our own battles going on. So I think it's an appropriately named CD.
Livewire: Your music has been called progressive metal to even emo and post grunge. How would you label your band's music?
Jared: I think Andy Warhol said it best, he said "labels are for cans, not for people."
Livewire: I agree. Where do you see yourself in rock history when all is said and done? What are you going to leave?
Jared: I'm not so much worried about what I leave, it should be while I'm here, I suppose.
Livewire: What's one of your most bizarre moments on tour?
Jared: We've had a lot of pretty interesting moments. When I think about this recent tour that we've done, we just completed our first ever arena tour in Europe. The most surreal thing is just how big these places are that we're playing. It's just mind boggling and so humbling and just makes you feel grateful for all of it. It's a blessing. That was an incredible experiences and now we came back to rediscover America. It's going to be an incredible journey and we hope everyone in Milwaukee comes out and celebrates with us.
Livewire: Speaking of Europe... I watched a recent interview that you did there at Absolute Radio and you mentioned something about phobia's. Got me thinking...What's yours?
Jared: Oh yeah, yeah! When they asked me about what's the name of a phobia for a thing or other.
Livewire: Yeah, and you said death phobia.
Jared: Yeah, I mean I'm not so scared of death. I would be more afraid of not living well.
Livewire: So that would be it?
Jared: Definitely, yes.
Livewire: Why do we love hello and fear goodbye?
Jared: I don't fear goodbye. I think we close one door and another opens. It's your perspective, you know?
Livewire: Do you find yourself religous?
Jared: I find myself...that's funny...I've been doing a documentry called "Artifact" and I interviewed Steve Lillywhite and I asked him about faith and religion. He said, "Well, I'm not very spirtual, but I'm very religous." And then he started laughing uncontrollably and said "I've always just wanted to say that because no one ever says that."
Livewire: What do you plan to leave with your fans after your Milwaukee performance next week?
Jared: I hope to leave them with an unforgettable night and a small piece of joy and excitement and a great memory. Much hope to see you there!